Our Team

Jessie Barry Program Manager
Jessie helps lead the Macaulay Library and Merlin Bird ID. She joined the Lab in 2008 as the Assistant Curator of Audio in the Macaulay Library, then went on to lead Merlin, and is now back in the Macaulay Library as the program manager.

 

 

Kathi Borgmann Communications Coordinator
Kathi is the Communications Coordinator for the Macaulay Library and loves writing and talking about all things bird. Kathi has traveled throughout the Americas tracking down birds, making eBird checklists, and contributing sounds to the Macaulay Library. Kathi earned her Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University and her Ph.D. in ornithology from the University of Arizona. In her free time, when she is not birding, Kathi enjoys traveling, cooking, and sewing.

 

Tayler Brooks Curatorial Assistant  
Tayler assists in the development of Neotropical multimedia projects.

 

 

 

Rick Elliker Lead Media Engineer
Rick is responsible for the quality, safety, and availability of the entire Macaulay Library archive. He provides engineering support for all Macaulay Library field, archival, and storage hardware systems and software.

 

 

Martha Fischer Multimedia Collections Specialist   
Martha archives audio and video specimens, edits audio production cuts, and enjoys reaching out and coaching recordists who use the eBird upload tool to help build the Macaulay Library audio collection.

 

 

Cullen Hanks Project Manager
Cullen grew up in Texas with a love for natural history and adventure. As a teenager he connected with the birding community, which provided the framework that has defined his career. Cullen earned a BA in biology from Cornell University and a Master’s in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin where he researched the economics of the parrot trade and conservation. At the Macaulay Library, Cullen manages several projects involving data collection and media curation. He also works on projects that tap into the contribution of different naturalist communities.

 

Tim Levatich Database Administrator
Tim builds and operates large databases at the Lab. Together with programmers and staff, he brings biodiversity information to scientists and the public. He supports systems for the Macaulay Library, the Information Science team, and the Membership & Development group.

 

 

Brian Maltzan Lead Software Engineer 
Brian writes code to store the metadata related to media.

 

 

 

Jay McGowan Multimedia Collections Specialist   
Jay’s primary responsibilities involve archival of audio and video specimens, and he manages the audio and video equipment loaner fleet.

 

 

 

Matthew Medler Collections Management Leader
As Collections Management Leader, Matt works with our team of media specialists to engage new and existing contributors to preserve their media in the ML archive.

 

 

Eliot Miller Collections Development Manager
Eliot is the Collections Development Manager for the Macaulay Library. He is responsible for growing the archive, increasing rates of data collection, and improving data quality. He interfaces with many lab programs including Information Science and outside partners. Eliot has been a naturalist since a young age and enjoys watching, identifying, and counting everything from birds to mushrooms and amphibians—anything that means he gets to be outside.

 

Brian Petersen Application Developer

Brian has been writing software for the Cornell Lab since 2017 and now Brian develops application services and user interfaces for the Macaulay Library. He loves being able to combine his passion for nature with technology!

 

 

 

Vanessa Powell Administrative Assistant
As Administrative Assistant to Macaulay Library and other programs, Vanessa supports the teams with day-to-day business assuring that they have the tools to create, preserve, and educate.

 

 

Matt Schloss Web Designer 
Matt is a web designer and developer working with the Macaulay Library team. He relishes the opportunity to create interactive websites that feature beautiful images of birds, videos of amazing behavior, and audio recordings of the great diversity of bird songs.

 

 

Edwin Scholes, Ph.D. Birds-of-Paradise Project Leader   
Edwin is the co-founder and leader of the Birds-of-Paradise Project at the Cornell Lab. He has been using audiovisual media to document and study the birds-of-paradise since 1999, when he began his Ph.D. in Ecology in Evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas. Prior to joining the Cornell Lab, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Learn more

 

Andrew Spencer Digital Media Coordinator  
Andrew works on photo and audio content development for various lab apps and pages.

 

 

 

Sarah Toner Curatorial Assistant
Sarah’s passion for birds was sparked in elementary school, and she has been very active in the birding community ever since. While attending Cornell University, Sarah worked with the Macaulay Library on several research and outreach projects. Now, as a Curatorial Assistant, Sarah helps select and develop content for Merlin.

 

Drew Weber Merlin Project Coordinator
Drew works on the Merlin Bird ID mobile app, charting out new features to help users learn more about birds, and collaborating with partners to expand the coverage of the app to the rest of the world. Drew has been birding since he was a kid and loves anything with birding and technology, so he feels fortunate to combine these two things every day.

 

Mike Webster, Ph.D. Macaulay Library Director and Robert G. Engel Professor of Ornithology 
As Director, Mike oversees the various archival, collections development, and research/outreach activities of the Macaulay Library. He is also a Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, with research focusing on the behavior and evolution of birds (particularly Australian fairy-wrens and New World warblers). Learn more about his research.

 

Ivor Williams Software Engineer
Ivor is a medium-sized birder best identified by his broad-brimmed rufous crown. Sometimes found in marshes or or high in the canopy, Ivor is most comfortable skulking in the forest. Vocalizations include “Where is it?”, “Which tree exactly?” and a plaintive “Anyone still on it?” A frequent visitor to Point Pelee in the spring, Ivor is an occasional vagrant in locations such as Columbia, Ghana, Chile, and Uganda.

Karen Workman  Financial Analyst 
Karen oversees the financial management of the Macaulay Library and other units including the budgetary process, grant and contract administration, financial reporting, and assisting in the preparation of award proposals.

 

 

Matthew Young Collections Management Leader  
Matthew’s main job duties are media licensing, audio editing, and overall collections management. His research interest is finch taxonomy, particularly Red Crossbill call types.

 

 

Students

 

Carrie Branch Rose Postdoctoral Fellow

Carrie is a behavioral ecologist interested in the evolution of signaling and cognition. At Cornell, Carrie is investigating whether females use secondary sexual signals to identify and mate with males that have superior spatial cognition, a trait required for overwinter survival in food-caching birds. She addresses these questions in free-living mountain chickadees that inhabit differentially harsh winter climates in the Sierra Nevada.

 

Alicia Brunner Ph.D. Candidate

Alicia researches the impact of environmental change on the behavior of Neotropical migratory birds. While completing her M.Sc. at Ohio State, she studied how wintering Swainson’s Warblers respond to changes in seasonal precipitation by adjusting their space use. At Cornell, she will be investigating how climate change is influencing the timing of breeding, molt, migration, and potential life-history tradeoffs using the long-term study system of Black-throated blue warblers at Hubbard Brook Forest, NH

 

Jay Falk Ph.D. Student
Jay is an evolutionary biologist and behavioral ecologist investigating how and why differences between the sexes arise. Visit Jay’s website.

 

 

 

Ryan Germain, Ph.D. Postdoc    
Ryan
’s research focuses on understanding variation in reproductive success and survival among individuals within wild animal populations.

 

 

 

Russell Ligon, Ph.D. NSF Postdoctoral Fellow
Russell is a behavioral evolutionary biologist interested in understanding how animals communicate and how animal communication strategies influence patterns of diversification. Visit his website.

 

 

Karan Odom, Ph.D. Postdoc  
Karan investigates how songbirds evolved the diversity of complex songs we see today. Karan is especially interested in the selection pressures responsible for song in females and males. Karan uses comparative methods and recordings from sound archives to examine how female and male songs changed over time. Karan developed a citizen science project—the Female Bird Song Project—to increase awareness and documentation of female bird songs.

 

Madelyn Ore Ph.D. Candidate

Madelyn is interested in investigating how neotropical migrant birds are adapting to changing climate and the lengthening of the green period during the breeding season. She is using a combination of genomic tools and ecological experiments to address this question in the Black-throated Blue Warbler.

 

 

Young Ha Suh Ph.D. Candidate
I am a Ph.D. student co-advised by John W. Fitzpatrick and Mike Webster. I am interested in why behavioral variation exists among individuals and how environmental change plays a role in its maintenance. My current research focuses on the variation of dispersal behavior in the Florida Scrub-Jay, a species that inhabits a dynamic habitat altered by frequent fires. Using field observations and modeling approaches, I am looking at the causes and consequences of dispersal decisions in relation to the social and physical environment.

 

Derrick Thrasher Ph.D. Candidate
Derrick earned his bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida. His undergraduate research in Katie Sieving’s lab focused on territorial interactions and habitat use of the eastern Painted Bunting in Florida. Derrick is now pursuing a Ph.D. in the Webster lab. His interests relate broadly to sociality and the evolution of social signals in birds. Currently, Derrick is investigating the role of social selection on the evolution of female plumage ornaments and reproductive strategies in the Variegated Fairy-wren.

 

Joseph Welklin Ph.D. Candidate
Joseph is a behavioral ecologist interested in the causes and consequences of individual variation within animal species, especially in fairy-wrens.